Police involved in fatal shootings would get instant name suppression under proposed Bill

A Bill to give automatic name suppression to police officers involved in fatal shootings has been prepared by National's police spokesperson Chris Bishop.

Mr Bishop said fatal shootings by officers were very rare in New Zealand, but he has been told when they do occur, the first thing the officer involved asks is whether their name will become public.

While an investigation is underway, he wants to see their names supressed, something the media does by convention, but is not legally required.

"The Bill provides that nobody may name, or provide the address, or other identifying details of any police officer involved or suspected to be involved in death as a result of the use of a firearm by a police officer acting in the execution of their duty," he said.

An exemption could be granted "upon application to the Chief Coroner" if the information was in the public interest.

"It's just about giving greater protection for our very hard-working and diligent hard-working frontline police officers."

Mr Bishop said the publication of officers' names had been a "real worry" of the Police Association for a long time.

He said if an officer involved in a fatal incident had their name published, but was subsequently cleared of fault, the publicity could have "long-ranging impacts on the officer's future", including on employability, public standing and their wellbeing.

Having an officer's name revealed on social media was also a concern, and while Mr Bishop admits it may be difficult to stop all online chatter, he believes automatic name suppression should "restrain people's behaviour".

"I think that's a good thing."

The Bill has been drafted and Mr Bishop hopes all parties will support it if it is picked from the Member's ballot.